Budget Would Reduce Wasteful Farm Programs

   Washington, D.C. – 3/13/2012 - The draft budget released by the House Budget Committee takes a first step toward reforming wasteful farm programs by calling for $31 billion in savings from farm subsidies and crop insurance, Environmental Working Group said in a March 12 statement.
   The budget document cited record farm income over the last few years in the face of crippling federal deficits as a reason to reexamine farm subsidies and the structure of the bloated crop insurance program.
   “Chairman Paul Ryan should be commended for looking to farm subsidies as ripe areas of reform that can yield large budget savings in a responsible manner,” EWG Vice President for Government Affairs Scott Faber said.
   EWG has identified $100 billion that could be cut from these programs over 10 years while leaving intact a robust safety net for farmers when they need it and without harming programs that feed hungry families or protect clean water, public health and the environment.
   Faber cautioned that the budget proposal would fail to achieve the planned savings if it leaves the details up to the House Agriculture Committee. “The budget plan leaves it up to the committee to decide where the savings should come from,” Faber said. “The committee has proven time and again that it is unwilling to reduce the flow of taxpayer dollars going to the most well-off farmers.”
   Following passage of last year’s budget blueprint, the House Agriculture Committee voted to take the full $35 billion in savings out of the nutrition assistance program for low income families rather than take a single penny from farm programs.
    The five-year farm bill passed by the committee last summer, which never reached the House floor, would have saved only $26.6 billion over 10 years, according to the latest estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. It would have taken more than $16 billion out of nutrition and conservation programs while spending $11 billion more on federally subsidized crop insurance.
   Source: Environmental Working Group